Friday, 15 March 2013

Mastermind - Semi Final 3

Finally I’ve managed to catch up with this extremely exciting semi final. And what a semi final it was. The contenders were

Rob White - =16th on the unofficial table
Chris Quinn – also = 16th, a high scoring runner up
Richard Tarleton – also =16th
Andrew Frazer – number 1 on the unofficial table
Rachael Neiman – number 2 on the table

So, what a line up. The most impressive performer in the whole of the first round, Andrew Frazer, taking on our very own Rach ‘Cherryade’ Neiman, so impressive in her first round heat herself. Let’s not ignore the pedigree of Chris Quinn, either, who equalled the finest GK round in the whole series in the first round.

Rob White kicked off with Scott’s Last Journey. I’d argue that a 90 second round can be sometimes more tricky than a two minute round, simply because every mistake accounts for a larger proportion of the round. Getting into double figures, then, is the mark of a very good round. Rob didn’t quite reach this mark, but his 9 at least put him into contention.

Last time out Chris Quinn answered on the novels of Roddy Doyle. He scored a relatively modest 8 back then, which is the main reason why he needed that stupendous GK round to earn his runner up slot in the semis. In this show he was offering the Films of Mel Brooks. I enjoyed this round myself, managing a half decent 6. Chris, though, easily improved upon his first round score with an impressive 10. Suddenly Rob’s chances looked slimmer, while Chris’ own prospects looked very good indeed.

The Life and Work of W.B.Yeats was Richard Tarleton’s specialist choice. Last time out we saw him answering on Shakespeare’s Tragedies, and despite being behind at the halfway stage he made up good ground on GK. That wouldn’t happen tonight. By the time you get to the semis you have to be at least up with the pack by the half way stage or you can forget it. Sadly for Richard he struggled a little with his round, managing 6 correct answers.

In the first round heat Andrew Frazer was just one answer away from a 100% show. He had a clear round of 19 on “When the Boat Comes In”. In this semi final Andrew opted to answer on Otto von Bismarck. What do you know – once again he produced a perfect round. 11 questions and 11 correct answers. A superb performance, which could only have been improved had he answered just a little more quickly.

Right – well, I always try my best to be impartial when I write about any show, but there are times when this has to go out of the window. For all that I like Chris Quinn tremendously – and why not, he’s a great guy – I hope that I will be forgiven for admitting that I was wholeheartedly shouting for our final contender , our own Rachael Neiman. Rach answered on John Peel’s Festive Fifties for her first round. Tonight she offered us the novels of Sarah Waters – possibly the best known of these being “Fingersmith” and “Tipping the Velvet”. Rach didn’t manage a perfect round, but the speed at which she answered meant that she was able to match Andrew point for point. 11 and no passes.

Richard was the first to return to the chair for the GK round. He gave it a lash, but the round didn’t really come off for him, and he didn’t manage to establish the kind of rhythm that you need in order to be able to post a challenging total. He finished with 13. Rob White did slightly better, but a couple of mid round passes robbed him of momentum at a crucial moment, and he only managed to take his total up to 18. Comfortably ahead of Richard’s, but unlikely to remain at the top of the leaderboard for very long.

The first of the big guns, Chris, was next to go. With Rach and Andrew only heading him by a point there was everything to play for. Sadly, this was just one of those rounds which got away. A couple of wrong answers at crucial moments, and Chris was struggling to set the kind of total which would put Andrew and Rach into the proverbial corridor of doubt. He too finished with 18. Now, like Chris, Andrew had ripped his GK round apart in the first round heat, scoring 19 correct answers from 20 questions. A similar performance would see him score about 15, and leave Rach with a mountain to climb. Well, he didn’t manage that. For the first time this year there were just small hints of nerves about his performance, as he dropped several questions. His measured and steady approach kept racking the points up, though, and he did reach double figures by its end, setting the target at 21 and no passes.

This left Rachael with the tricky but doable task of scoring 10 and no passes to force a tie break, or eleven and as many passes as she liked to win. In case you’ve forgotten Rachael too scored 19 on her GK round in the heat, so she was certainly capable of scoring 12 in 2 minutes. She scored her 10th point and she hadn’t passed. Unbeknownst to any of us she had 2 questions left. Asked the roman capital in Essex she couldn’t quite get Colchester. The buzzer went as John asked about the SALT treaties. And from her answer she obviously knew it, but just couldn’t get out the right word. Oh, on such small margins are matches decided, sometimes. Very hard lines, Rachael. Hard lines Chris as well, and Rob and Richard. But very well done to Andrew. Sometimes that top of the unofficial table slot can be a kiss of death when it comes to the semis, so well done for avoiding the curse, and best of luck in the final, sir.

The Details

Rob White Scott’s Last Journey9 – 0 9 - 2 18 - 2
Chris QuinnThe Films of Mel Brooks10 - 08 - 2 18 - 2
Richard TarletonThe Life and Poetry of W.B.Yeats6 - 3 7 - 4 13 - 4
Andrew FrazerOtto Von Bismarck11 - 010 -0 21 - 0
Rachael NeimanThe Novels of Sarah Waters 11 – 0 9 - 0 20 – 0


modern synthesist said...

Andrew did seem a little nervier than in the first round, but a thoroughly deserving winner. He’d have been cursing himself all the way home if he’d ended up losing by a point after answering “Martin Peters” instead of “Geoff Hurst” in what was basically a gimme about the 1966 World Cup final.

Londinius said...

Hi modern synthesist, and welcome to LAM, Thanks for taking the time and trouble to comment.

Yes, all I can say is that your mind can do funny things to you when you sit in that chair. In my own semi final in 2007 I got a couple of real sitters wrong, yet answered two correctly with guesses which I really didn't have a clue about. Such is life.

Andrew B. said...

Something's wrong here - if they both scored 11 in round 1, and Andrew's score was 21, then Rachel needed 11 to win, not 10, and the table at the end doesn't clear things up. (I didn't see the episode, so don't know where the error is!)

Londinius said...

Yeah - sorry Andrew - got my arithmetic wrong there. It's been a very long and very tiring week - not much of an excuse but it's the best I've got. Changed it now.